What is a trigger point?
An area of muscle that is painful and tender is known as a trigger point. Typically to patients, it feels like a tight band or a knot, and when pressed on it may trigger pain in that region.
Also, the pain may radiate out down one’s arm or leg when it is pressed. It is a point of overactive muscle that results from stress, overuse or an issue in the spine.
Along with trigger point injections, treatments for trigger points involve stress reduction, pain medication, physical therapy, and exercise.
What is a trigger point injection?
Trigger point injection is a procedure that includes placing numbing medicine around the trigger point. It can relieve the pain by relieving muscle spasms and relaxing the tightness.
For what conditions are trigger point injections helpful?
These procedures work well for muscle pain in the arms, legs, shoulders and back or neck associated with:
Fibromyalgia, tension headaches or myofascial pain. Myofascial pain simply refers to chronic pain in muscle tissue.
Trigger Point Areas
If one is having muscle spasms due to an underlying disorder such as a pinched nerve, trigger point injections can also be helpful. They’re often given in association with other treatments such as PT or epidural steroid injections.
How are these performed?
Initially, the skin is sterilized over the region and a tiny needle is used to perform the procedure. This needle is similar to that used with a TB type injection.
Typically a small twitch is seen and felt when the needle is inserted, which tells the physician the proper area is being treated. The injected medicine will typically relieve the spasms and the pain. Often times the physician will move the needle in and out of the area for optimal results. The whole procedure takes less than two minutes.
What are the outcomes with trigger point injections?
When numbing medicine is injected, pain relief usually starts within a minute. This relief will usually last for 12 hours, and when the numbing medicine wears off there may be some slight soreness.
The patient must perform stretching to restore the muscle to its normal resting length. The stretching coupled with the injections and physical therapy can provide pain relief anywhere from a few days to a few months. These injections can be repeated every week or so as necessary, and also performed in conjunction with physical therapy, acupuncture, massage or deeper injections.
Are there risks with trigger point injections?
Risks associated with this procedure are minimal. There is a minuscule risk of infection or bleeding. There may be a risk of an allergic reaction to the medications.
The biggest risk is that the injection may simply not work. If you are suffering from back or neck pain or tightness/spasms, call Gershon Pain today!